Spousal maintenance or alimony is funds paid from one spouse to another in a divorce or legal separation either during the divorce or legal separation process or after its conclusion. The spouse earning the greater income is typically responsible for paying the spousal maintenance for as long as the court mandates either on a temporary or permanent basis..
Washington has no concrete set of standards for the awarding of spousal support. In general, it is up to the discretion of the trial judge in each divorce case to determine whether support will be granted, how much and the duration of the payments.
Common factors that Washington judges consider regarding spousal support include the length of the marriage, the age and health of each spouse, the differences in the incomes of each spouse and the length of time required for the lesser-earning spouse to begin earning enough money to maintain the lifestyle he or she retained during the marriage. Spousal support is generally considered to be temporary in duration, until the lesser-earning spouse either gets back on his or her feet financially or remarries; however, there are circumstances in which support could be awarded for the lifetime of the spouse who is to receive the support.
Of course, it is not just the financial needs of the spouse seeking support that are considered. The needs of the spouse from whom support is sought are also important in determining whether support will be granted and the terms of such support. The judge has an obligation to make sure the spouse from whom support is sought will still be able to maintain his or her previous standard of living and meet his or her other financial obligations while paying any additional support, as well.
Family law can get complicated based on each individual situation when it comes to awarding spousal support. At Eagle Law Offices, P.S. we are available to help either party in a divorce or legal separation with spousal support questions. We can determine if support is needed, in what amount and help to make sure funds awarded are fair. We are here to help Snohomish, King, Pierce and Kitsap county residents settle their divorces in as friendly and equitable a manner as possible. Come to us and receive the best family law representation in the area. For questions and information regarding divorce or legal separation, including spousal support, contact Eagle Law Offices, P.S. at 206-426-6961.